FR Semester VéloMai: “a vélo” with Stendhal & friends on Lake Maggiore

It is VeloMai, and we have prepared something special for you !

NEW DATE: due to uncertainties with weather, the event will be May 22nd

We offer for the Sunday 22nd May a nice “promenade” bike ride with culture and food , the perfect combination!.

It is one-day bike ride (approximately from 10 am to 5 pm, length about 35 km), medium / low difficulty, with outdoors nature and cultural stops with reading from French authors who have written about Lake Maggiore.

The day includes a lunch stop with French products.

Costs: € 15.00 / each – possibility to rent a bike for € 5.00 (electric bikes € 10.00)- departure and arrival in Piazza San Martino in Ispra.


Lake Maggiore fascinated and inspired great French artists, who discovered these places in the wake of Napoleon Bonaparte or during the “Grand Tour” and other travels during the 18th and 19th centuries. The pedaling itinerary starts from Ispra and touches the municipalities of Angera, Ranco, Cadrezzate with Osmate, Brebbia, Monvalle, touching Lake Maggiore and crossing the hinterland. We will observe the landscape from various points of view and during the day we will heapassages by Stendhal, Flaubert, Dumas and others. The lunch break will be in the form of a picnic and will have French products as its theme.

  • Date: Sunday 22 May, 2022 (10.00h), register by 19 May
  • Registration: Bicycle Shop Romeo, piazza san Martino 63, 21027 Ispra.
  • Phone and WhatsApp: +39 348 8516 760
  • Email:

Huge thanks to Jean-Michel TERRES for the idea ad the organisation !

Veloscenic cycle route, 450 km from Paris to Mont Saint-Michel

The Veloscenic is a well-signposted route from Paris via Chartres and Normandy, to the Mont St-Michel. This exceptional trail crosses such gorgeous areas as the Chevreuse Valley, the Perche, French Maine and the Bocage Normand. The route is accessible to different levels of cyclist. Long stretches are along greenways, linked by quiet roads.

the cycle route (click to see detailed routes)

Vélodyssée, the atlantic cycling route

La Vélodyssée, French part of the Atlantic Coast Route – EuroVelo 1 is a bicycle route that crosses Brittany and along the Atlantic to the Basque Coast, La Vélodyssée is an invigorating cycling journey through landscapes of unspoilt beauty.
Get on your bike and explore this cycle tour of over 1200 km with its beautiful ocean backdrop! Between Roscoff and Hendaye, 70% of the route is on traffic-free paths. Discover our regional treasures as you follow the longest, fully-signposted cycle route in France.

The route (click on map to see detailed routes)

The spirit of La Vélodyssée is:

A new kind of holiday, with a more sustainable, slow tourism experience

No more hurrying from place to place. Really take the time to explore a location using ‘slow’ (non-polluting) modes of transport with destinations close to you. 

Whether you’re travelling with family, as a couple, or with friends, discover France’s west coast at your own pace, with all of its treasures along a safe route marked from north to south and south to north. Route guidebooksGPS tracks, and our website will make it easy for you to plan your holidays and will guide you along the way.

Exchanges and encounters at the heart of your journey

Share a moment with family or friends, the ideal opportunity to talk and connect with each other as you roll along France’s west coast.

Take advantage of accommodations specially for cyclists in Accueil Vélo (Cyclists Welcome) lodging, as well as services dedicated to cycling. 

Meet men and women who are the heart and soul of the regions traversed by La Vélodyssée: visit an oyster farmer in Charente-Maritime, a winemaker in Landes, a chocolatier in Basque Country, a lock keeper in Brittany, and more. Try out a session of surfing, land sailing, canoeing, boating, or another fun activity with a local professional. Go bird watching, guided by a specialist from the Vendée.

All along the cycling route, meet fellow travellers on La Vélodyssée: families, couples, groups, or single riders, young people and less-young people, riders going ‘down’ towards the south and those going ‘up’ towards the north. You’ll meet people going on day trips or just a weekend and others going long-distance, not even stopping at the end of La Vélodyssée and instead continuing along the rest of the EuroVelo 1 cycling route.

Incredible diversity!

From Brittany, the land of legends, to the Loire Estuary, from marshes in the Vendée to beaches in Aquitaine, from north to south on this French cycling route, you’re guaranteed to find a huge variety of magical, natural landscapes: canals, moorlands, marshes, dunes, beaches, pine forests, wooded countryside, pools, and more.

So many choices! You’ll fall head over heels for quintessential French cities like Nantes, La Rochelle, Rochefort, Royan, Bayonne, Biarritz, and more.

You will be stunned by emblematic tourist sites like the Nantes-Brest Canal, the Poitevin Marsh, Fort Boyard, Arcachon Bay, Dune du Pilat, and the Landes forest. And let’s not forget about those stops along the way to taste local farm products you don’t want to miss.

La boule de fort

Traditional game of the Loire Valley and in particular of Anjou, which dates back to at least 1660, boule de fort is the only sport that is practiced in “charentaises” (slippers)!

Initiation et découverte de la BOULE DE FORT à SAUMUR (49)

The combination of the ball slightly offset center of gravity (strong side) to the tread (metal circle) with the extremely “rolling” raised-edged-playground gives the ball a slowly zigzag course.

Would the game have inspire or been inspired by lawn bowling practiced throughout the Commonwealth or by “bourle” practiced in Haut de France, Belgium and the Netherlands?
Was it inspired by the ball games of the sailors waiting for the tide in the “Gabares” hold?


Still, it is unique in France and classified as an intangible cultural heritage by UNESCO.

What about you givin’ a roll with us!

Reunion island Ultra trail “La diagonale des fous” ( The madmen’s Diagonal)

Reunion Island is heaven on earth for those who enjoy outdoor sports, and there are almost 1,000 kilometres of hiking trails winding all over the island. 42% of the island is listed as World Heritage by Unesco.

You can enjoy all kinds of sports on the ultimate island (MTB, paragliding, diving, deep-sea fishing, canyoning) but one of them is unique, original and sometimes offers a brand-new experience: the Grand Raid of Reunion Island!

The Grand Raid of Reunion Island is considered a legendary “Ultra Trail”, due to the difficulty encountered and the rugged mountain tracks of the island. There are four races in this competition, including the “Diagonale des Fous” (Madmen’s Diagonal) which is part of the Ultra Trail World Tour (UTWT), which groups together the most iconic races in the discipline.

La Diagonale des fous has even been named the most iconic Ultra Trail in the world by the French magazine l’Equipe.

Test your limits !

To end the season, every year in October, those looking to win the title come to the island to participate in the Grand Raid of Reunion Island.

The very best of the world’s trail runners come every year, to take on the 166 km, with 9,600 metres of uphill climbs, departing from Saint-Pierre, and try to get to Saint-Denis as quickly as possible.

The Grand Raid of Reunion Island, at the heart of the national park, is for those looking for some excitement and for experienced trail runners. It is a popular race with participants from the island, from metropolitan France, overseas and from all over the Indian Ocean. The Reunion Island Diagonale des Fous is well-known across the globe, and is one of the 15 most difficult races in the world, with participants coming from 50 different countries!

 This race is more than just a trail run, it’s an opportunity to push the boundaries, it’s a challenge, the “Madmen’s Diagonal”. You have to be a madman/woman to run across Reunion Island, from south to north.

Up in the mountains, with conditions that can sometimes be unpredictable, the Grand Raid of Reunion Island is all about effort, solidarity, conviviality, encounters and the ultimate pleasure for the senses. Thanks to these sensations, emotions and thrills, competitors always aim to push themselves to their ultimate limits.

How can you prepare for an ultramarathon on Reunion Island ?

Regular weekly training
You need to train on a regular basis At least 4 sessions per week are essential to be able to run an ultramarathon. We also recommend regular physical training such as weightlifting.

Long-term preparation 
You should start your preparation well before the race. Start preparing for the race around ten months before, and make sure you put on the brakes one week before the competition.

Adapt your body to intense effort and differences in altitude
Get used to running for a long time and along tracks with steep uphill/downhill sections. If you live on flat terrain, you can train in a gym to replace the training sessions in mountainous terrain.

Test equipment
Make sure you test your equipment before the day of the race. Some of your equipment could be faulty or maybe not suitable for your body shape and/or the way you run.

Mental preparation
This race is a long and difficult one. The landscapes you’ll be crossing may be magnificent, but the challenge will not always be pleasurable. Make sure you prepare yourself mentally, to be ready to take on the Grand Raid of Reunion Island.

Study the terrain
We recommend you study the terrain before taking on this race. If you know the terrain well, you will be able to manage your race and your endurance much better. If you can’t go there before the actual race, you can study the map.

Manage your pace and endurance
With the right training and experience, you’ll be able to develop your own strategy for the race. Learn to know your own body and know how to manage your effort.

Good recovery
After such an effort, you must remember to recover properly. Make sure you plan for recovery time and plenty of rest. If you do not recover properly after this kind of effort, this could lead to serious injuries.

Anjou by bike

Anjou is located at the heart of renowned local, national or European cycle routes such as “La Loire à Vélo“, “EuroVélo 6” or “Vélo Francette®“, “Vélobuissonnière” or the “Loir Valley by bike” (roadmap) to cross several regions of France.

Wild Loire and Corniche angevine circuit

On the Wine Routes, this wine tourism circuit of 58 km by car takes you through the vineyards of the Anjou corniche, its small villages and on the banks of the Loire… Take the opportunity to taste one of the AOC wines of the region !

Biathlon, from an unknown sport to a popular discipline

While the Winter Olympics start Friday 4th February in Beijing, the discipline is indeed more and more known. Still very confidential ten years ago, this sport has benefited from growing media coverage which has given it better exposure, especially on television. Despite this popularity, the practice remains more limited, with less than 6,000 licensees in France

Biathlon is one of the most challenging winter games which gives thrilling experience in chilled winter. This winter sport is a mixture of cross-country skiing and rifle shooting. Biathlon is difficult to play because here the athletes participating in a cross country skiing race are distracted by frequent stops to shoot at sequence of targets. Biathlon is a combination of five events − individual, sprint, pursuit, relay, and mass start.

In this game, the athletes compete in cross country skiing and shoot series of targets from a distance. The athletes need to be fast, focussed, and have more stamina. Every time the target is missed the biathlete either gets an additional time or distance penalty. It is important that the skier is fast enough to maintain the competition but should be slow enough to maintain control. In this game the athletes carry a rifle and shoot the target from the distance of 50m.

Biathlon – How to Play?


Individual race is the oldest event of biathlon. The male biathlete runs a distance of 20km while the female runs over 15 km. In this event the skier has to shoot four targets each in five laps. The shooting positions for the target is prone, standing, prone, standing. If the target is missed then a one minute penalty is imposed.


Sprint has 10 km distance for males and 7.5km for women. Here the distance is covered three laps. The biathlete shoots once in the standing position while second time in the prone position. Every time a shot is missed a penalty loop of 150m is to be skied before the race can be continued.


Contestants for the pursuit event are chosen from the sprint event. Top 60 finishers of sprint race qualify for this event. The pursuit race is of 12.5 km for males and 10 km for females. Biathlete with the best timings in sprint event starts the race and is followed by other deserving candidates accordingly. The objective of this race is to accompany the leader and patch up ground to be the first to cross the finishing line.
The pursuit race is parted into five laps and four shooting bouts. Here the racers can team up at the target areas of the race. It’s better to shoot in the sequence of their arrival at the shooting range. Mostly this means that the racers simply stand and wait for their turns. Every time they miss a target a penalty loop of 150m is imposed before the racer can go along the course.


In this event all the biathletes start at the same time from the same source. After completing their course, the biathletes have to touch the next biathlete who will be running the next part of the race. For male biathletes relay is a 4 x 7.5 km and for female biathletes relay is a 4 x 6 km.

In short, all the four biathletes have to cover the distance in three laps and two shooting bouts. All qualified biathletes have to perform two shooting rounds. In each shooting round the biathlete faces five targets. In case if a shot is missed they are given three chances to manually load the bullet and try again. For the fourth time a penalty loop of 150m is to be covered.

Mass start

Mass start is the latest event that was included in biathlon events in 2006 Winter Olympics in Turin. In this event top 30 biathletes who managed to maintain the best scores in other four events start the race altogether. For male biathletes mass start is a 15km race and for female biathletes it is 12.6km. There are five laps and four shooting rounds and for each missed target a penalty loop of 150 m is to be covered.

Martin Fourcade

Martin Fourcade

Martin Fourcade is a biathlete from France who has won overall world cup five times and he is the only biathlete to do so. Along with this he also won Olympics two times. Martin started his career in 2002 and in 2006 he started participating at international level.

He won bronze medal in junior championship in 2007. Since 2007 he kept participating and improving his rank. After 2010 winter Olympics he took part in world cup and won a silver medal. He won 2009-2010 Pursuit world cup.

In 2011, world championship he took part in mixed relay and finished 3rd. He also won a silver medal in sprint event of biathlon. After that he took part in pursuit event and won gold. In 2012-2013 session he won silver in world championships in sprint and pursuit and a gold in individual. In 2013-2014 session he won a gold in mass start event in world championship and 2014 Olympics.

Some Cycling routes of Burgundy-Franche-Comté

La Voie Bleue – Moselle-Saône valley by bike

La Voie Bleue – Moselle-Saône à Vélo is a national cycle route stretching from Apach, on France’s border with Luxembourg, to Lyon. Crossing France from north to south, this route forms a major cycling link between Northern Europe and the Mediterranean. The way first meanders gently beside the Moselle River, then follows the Canal des Vosges before running by the Saône River to Lyon, the great city at the confluence of Sâone and Rhône.

Le Tour de Bourgogne by bike

The Tour de Bourgogne allows you to travel all over Burgundy thanks to its network of itineraries. A real playground for family cycling holidays.

It consists of the various routes detailed below, which are linked together to form a magnificent network of cycle routes and greenways:

  • The Burgundy Canal which leads you from the gates of Auxerre to those of Dijon, 45% of greenways and 55% of towpaths,
  • The Vine Route which undulates from Dijon to Santenay and even Chalon, where you can reach the Canal du Centre (EuroVelo 6), on quiet small roads,
  • The Canal latéral à la Loire, Ariane’s line to the pretty historic towns of Digoin, Bourbon-Lancy, Decize or Nevers, more than 40% of which are greenways,
  • The Canal du Centre de Chalon in Digoin, from the Saône to the Loire, this section of EuroVelo 6 in France uses the Canal du Centre which bypasses southern Burgundy, with nearly 40% of greenways,
  • The Canal du Nivernais, its greenway, part of the Tour de Bourgogne by bike, leads us to discover this little jewel from Auxerre to Decize, nearly 90% of which are greenways, South Burgundy, a superb cycling loop from Chalon to Mâcon, via the green lane of the Chalon coast and back by the blue lane near the Saône, from Mâcon to Chalon. More than 90% of greenways for the Côte chalonnaise.

EuroVelo 6 – Cycle Route of the rivers

Between Basel-Mulhouse on France’s eastern border and Nevers on the Loire, follow one of the country’s most interesting unbroken cycle routes, part of the EuroVelo 6 route linking the Black Sea to the Atlantic. Cyclists love crossing Southern Alsace via the peaceful Canal du Rhône au Rhin. An unforgettable section takes you along the Doubs Valley and through the Jura Region’s hills. Lastly, you cross Southern Burgundy, passing by famous vineyards, medieval villages and historic industrial sites beside the Canal du Centre. Make the most of the many railway services allowing you to carry bikes to different sections of the route.

Grande Traversée du Jura by bike

A cycling adventure to explore the Jura Range. Wend your way across its vast open spaces, its charming villages and its mountains, enjoying splendid views. La Grande Traversée du Jura à Vélo (or GTJ à Vélo) starts from Montbéliard and ends in Culoz, taking you riding along over 370km on minor roads. It links the Doubs and Rhône Rivers. The way is accessible to all types of cyclist, running through the heart of verdant, mid-altitude mountains. As well as all the discoveries to make along this route, alternative offshoots allow you to tackle mythic ascents, notably of the Col de la Faucille and Le Grand Colombier.

More info

Le Mascaret is a natural, spectacular phenomenon

If you are holidaying in the South-West of France near Bordeaux you may hear about the famous tidal bore on the River Garonne. The Mascaret wave is mysterious and spectacular tidal wave enjoyed by surf-board enthusiasts.

What is the Tidal Bore?

The tidal bore is a natural phenomenon on estuary rivers. The tidal bore is produced when the water level is lower and the tidal coefficient exceeds 90 (late spring to autumn). It starts at the mouth of the estuary, at the time of the falling tide / rising tide with the rising flow of the ocean against the downward flow of the river. The Tidal Bore is independent of the wind, however it can thwart the phenomenon if it blows from the east.

Surf on the Garonne, Dordogne and Gironde …

This wave, occurs often in the Gironde estuary. It can reach up to 2 meters high, and travels between 15 and 30 km/h. Surfers can ride the wave for up to 10 minutes.